THE COAST 

Reviewed By  Grasshopper2       June 7, 2022

 

Author  Eleanor Limprecht

Distributor:       Booktopia/Amazon 
ISBN:                 9781760879402
Publisher:         Allen & Unwin
Release Date:   June 2022  

Website:    https://www.allenandunwin.com 

This well researched Historical Fiction, The Coast is set in Sydney, spanning the years from 1905 to 1926. These days we have so many areas of our history filled in, but this is quite a different view of the early times in Australia. A leper colony was established around Little Bay; this well presented, deeply moving story gives us many details of what life was like then, and how the lives of the affected people were managed.

The compound consisted of individual buildings called Lazarets. The occupants lived there and were provided with substantial meals and medical attention. Their bread was freshly baked by prisoners in the Long Bay Gaol. Their milk came straight from a local dairy. The inmates would always be outcasts and separated from their families who could visit them, but most chose not to. The medical treatment the patients received was basic and bit by bit their bodies disintegrated.

The Coast comes to life using four main characters. Alice, Clea, Jack and Will. Each plays a part in expanding the daily workings of the leper colony and the characters within. Alice was brought to the Lazaret when she was 9 years old. Her grandmother discovered she had the very early signs of Leprosy and took her to be with her mother, who was a resident there. She grew up in a very different world where she was able to go down to the beach and walk but would be forever isolated.

Will developed a fascination of the human body at an early age and trained as a doctor. He worked tirelessly at the leper colony and was the kind face the patients knew well. Jack was Aboriginal and tells his story from a completely different angle.

Eleanor Limprecht has shone a light on a very different aspect of Australian History and encapsulates the customs and thoughts of the times very well.